How to complain

Making a noteWe want to help you make your complaint to the right place, so you don't get the run-around. This page explains how to complain about different issues.

Financial services and products

Smart tip

If you are unsure where to go with your complaint, call ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.

If your complaint involves a scam, go to the report a scam webpage.

If you believe there has been misconduct relating to the management of a company, its directors or officers, you can lodge a complaint with ASIC.

If your complaint is about financial advice or superannuation, managed funds, other investments, international money transfers from Australia, insurance, credit and loans or your bank accounts, you should take the following steps:

Step 1

Contact the business with your complaint

They may be able to solve the problem for you on the spot. If they can't or you're unhappy with their response then go to Step 2.

Step 2

Take your complaint further

Ask the business for their complaints handling procedure. In your letter or email you should:

  • Write 'Complaint' in the heading or subject line
  • Write your name, contact details and the date
  • Set out the problem clearly and stick to the facts
  • Include copies of relevant documents such as receipts or invoices. Keep the originals and a copy of your complaint letter.

Here are some sample complaint letters you can use as a guide:

Sample letter of complaint about insurance (RTF, 31KB)

Sample letter of complaint about financial advice (RTF, 31KB)

Sample letter of complaint about bank account (RTF, 22KB)

If you don't receive a response in a reasonable time (generally about 2-3 weeks) or you're unhappy with their response go to Step 3.

Step 3

Contact an external dispute resolution scheme

Nearly all financial services businesses must belong to an external dispute resolution (EDR)scheme. EDR schemes hear complaints for free and can be a simpler alternative to resolving disputes in court. The business must tell you which scheme it belongs to.

Here are the three EDR schemes:

  • Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - 1800 367 287
    FOS handles complaints about banking, credit, loans and debt collection, life insurance, superannuation, financial planning, insurance broking, stockbroking, investments, managed funds, timeshares, general insurance, finance and mortgage broking. They cover complaints where the value of the claim is $500,000 or less.

    They do not deal with complaints about compulsory third party, private health, public liability and workers' compensation insurance.
  • Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) - 1800 138 422
    CIO handles complaints about credit unions, building societies, non-bank lenders, mortgage and finance brokers, financial planners, lenders and debt collectors, credit licensees and credit representatives. They cover complaints where the value of the claim is $500,000 or less.
  • Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) - 1300 884 114 or 03 8635 5580 
    The Tribunal handles complaints about providers of superannuation, retirement savings accounts and annuities. You must contact the trustee of your superannuation fund before you go to the SCT. The fund then has 90 days to respond to you.

Call ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630 if you are unsure which EDR scheme to contact.

Watch our video on how dispute resolution works.

Consumer goods and services

State government agencies can help with complaints about consumer goods and services.

Prices and competition

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the state government agencies listed above can help with complaints about prices, competition, unfair market practices, product safety, franchises and advertising. You can contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

If you're not sure who to contact about your complaint call ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.

If you're unhappy about the service you are receiving or you aren't sure whether something is illegal, don't be afraid to complain. 

Related links

Last updated: 08 Sep 2016